Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 Dinner At Seven Prime http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Dinner-At-Seven-Prime_90887 Seven Prime Restaurant is a quiet oasis on Montego Bay&rsquo;s famed Gloucester Ave, referred to as the Hip Strip (bottom road, as the locals say) and, unlike its counterparts that feature balcony views of the Caribbean Sea, Seven Prime sits to the back of Altamont West Hotel. This unique setting offers an outside, tranquil dining experience, with trees and birds chirping (quick check, we are still on bottom road, no? Yeah!).<br /> <br /> If you are seeking a tranquil spot to relax after work sans TV screens and the sports bar vibe, then Seven Prime is perfect for that call from labour to refreshment.<br /> <br /> With relaxation but at a slower pace, it features an inside dining area for quieter and intimate dining, while dining outside allows for more casual offerings with lounge chairs and sofas. If you are a lover of curried goat, then be sure to check out &lsquo;Curry Goat Fridays&rsquo; a weekly feature at Seven Prime.<br /> <br /> Resident Chef Clemont Ricketts has over 30 years of experience and was actually one of the first graduates from HEART Trust/NTA in 1982. he has settled in at Seven Prime after years of honing his skills in hotels and on cruise lines. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13728045/261157__w300.jpg Local Lifestyle Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:00 AM Briana&rsquo;s Homecoming http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Briana-s-Homecoming_93136 It&rsquo;s been four long years since Briana Riddock last visited The Rock. The Atlanta, Georgia-born, New York University student has had good reason for the delay. In the midst of a Food Studies master&rsquo;s degree in the Big Apple, Riddock has been honing her culinary knowledge of international cuisine and racking up annual frequent flier miles &mdash; jetting off with a group of friends who bill themselves as The Seven Wonders, to Costa Rica, Panama, Thailand, Spain, France, and Trinidad for the immersive experience of cultural (and food) discoveries. <br /> <br /> On an overdue vacay here and shuttling between her beloved aunt, legal luminary Judith Pantry, and cousin, Spaces home retailer Janelle Coke, Riddock was coaxed by the latter into showcasing her culinary gifts at an intimate dinner party last Saturday evening. <br /> <br /> Hosted at the well-appointed upper St Andrew abode of Janelle and her husband, Scotia Investments Vice-President, Origination & Capital Markets Dylan Coke, the fabulous buffet-style dinner party featured a seven-dish offering for the two dozen invited guests. Receptive palates warmed to Riddock&rsquo;s multi-ethnic menu, which unsurprisingly revealed itself as obvious nods to both her Caribbean and American South heritage and, too, her travels to foreign lands.<br /> <br /> From the delightful cold appetiser of shrimp cocktails with a peach glaze drizzled with sesame oil to the rich lobster mac and cheese, 10-hour roasted pulled pork tostonis, the Southern Belle salmon crostinis, guava BBQ chicken, to a Jamaica jambalaya, the spread found favour, with some returning for seconds and yes, even thirds.<br /> <br /> It was all far from virgin territory for the 28-year-old Riddock, however, as she shared with us that Saturday&rsquo;s repast somewhat mimicked the gatherings she frequently hosts in her own space back home. &ldquo;I usually have dinner parties at my tiny apartment in New York,&rdquo; disclosed the young chef, who also manages her own blog, Seasoning Bottle. &ldquo;I invite friends over and squeeze in as many people as I can. I prepare a few courses and we muse over food, politics, news, and fashion.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Set to graduate this May, the future is bright for the cheery, personable Riddock, who grew up watching the<br /> <br /> Food Network and idolising Emeril Lagasse, and who today, counts renowned chefs and restaurateurs Marcus Samuelsson and Bobby Flay as culinary figures she most admires. She wouldn&rsquo;t mind someday being a TV chef herself. And we&rsquo;re tickled pink that the universe could perhaps bring it to actualisation. <br /> <br /> Thursday Food invites you to join us at the dinner party hosted in her honour by the Cokes.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Omar Tomlinson http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13728442/265586__w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:00 AM Chefs to watch 2017 - The Courtleigh Hotel & Suites http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Chefs-to-watch-2017_92948 Thursday Food highlights five more chefs who are charged with introducing visitors and locals to the best culinary offerings in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> This week&rsquo;s featured chefs are from The Courtleigh Hotel & Suites, Kingston.<br /> <br /> BERBETT SAMUELS BELL - Range Chef, The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites<br /> <br /> Climbing the culinary ladder gives me great joy&hellip; <br /> <br /> I am destined for greatness! My journey began a little over a decade ago, while I was home and not working at the time. I ran into a teacher who taught me at St Theresa&rsquo;s All-Age School in St Andrew. She informed me of a training programme that was taking place at the school. During this time I lacked motivation as I had a young baby nursing. I always wanted to go back to school, but never thought it was possible.<br /> <br /> Despite that, I made the decision to further my studies. I started with acquiring the funds to purchase the utensils I needed to start the programme. I had to pick coffee and sell in my community. It&rsquo;s funny; I can still remember those days when I couldn&rsquo;t pick as fast as the other vendors to get enough money. That&rsquo;s when my sister Evelyn Samuels had to help me complete my first box so I could get the funds needed. One thing about my family, in spite of everything they were very supportive. I can remember my mother Alice and father Dudley Samuels had to stay with my son Ryan so I could enrol in the programme  and further my studies.<br /> <br /> After completing the level 1 programme at Mount Friendship HEART Training Centre, I joined the Boulevard Baptist HEART Training Centre where I completed the level 2 programme successfully. Because I did so well, I was recommended to the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites to do my work experience, and once I completed that, Chef Mark Dekrines, who is the executive chef, saw my diligence and willingness to work, and offered me the opportunity to work full-time.<br /> <br /> Of course, I happily accepted. While working at the hotel, I completed my level 3 certification at the Boulevard Baptist HEART, earning the certification of chef de partie. I am still happily working with the Hendrickson Family at the Courtleigh Hotel & Suites. I was afforded the opportunity to enter the Taste of Jamaica Competition My natural drive to reach for the stars and to be the best at anything I do presented me with the opportunity to receive the prestigious award of Employee of the Year 2016! I remain motivated to keep climbing the ladder of success and to further my studies and become an executive chef. There have been challenges along the way; however, I know it will all be worth it in the end!<br /> <br /> I am definitely a chef to watch in 2017!<br /> <br /> THEODORE LYN - Chef Garde Manger, The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites<br /> <br /> The sky is the limit for me as my passion for cooking/food preparation continues to skyrocket each day. <br /> <br /> The love of food first came from being in a family where everyone either loved eating or cooking food. For me at the time, however, it was all about the eating! My love for cooking later came during high school where I was asked to choose a vocational area of study upon entering fourth form at Jonathan Grant High School. <br /> <br /> No other vocation appealed to me but Food and Nutrition, which quickly brought me back to my childhood days. While at school I got the opportunity to work at KFC, which at the time was a requirement for completing fifth form. <br /> <br /> A greater appreciation for food was found when my fifth-form class went on a field trip to Sandals Dunn&rsquo;s River where I was wowed by the demonstrations of a young chef. Upon graduation I got a job at KFC. From there I attended the HEART Runaway Bay Institute for food preparation. There my passion for cooking grew even further. I completed levels 1,2 & 3 in commercial food preparation. I gained experience working at Cardiff Hotel, Grand Lido Braco and the Terra Nova Hotel, coupled with catering jobs at the City View Hotel, and personal catering as well. Soon after completing level 3 chef de partie, I secured a job as a food preparation demonstrator at HEART Runaway Bay. I worked there for two years and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) programme. <br /> <br /> Coming back to Kingston, I landed a job at the Marchabella bistro. From there it was on to my current job at the Courtleigh Hotel & Suites where I have been the lunchtime &Atilde;  la carte chef in Alexander&rsquo;s restaurant for two years now. Working here has afforded me the opportunity to become part of the Culinary Federation of Jamaica. I entered the Taste of Jamaica culinary competition in 2016 and won a silver medal in fruit and vegetable carving.<br /> <br /> ARIANA MOORE - Range Chef, The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites<br /> <br /> Hard work and dedication are the keys to success.<br /> <br /> I am a Piscean by birth, &ldquo;born right here under the clock&rdquo;, and I have been cooking since the age of 10. Of course, it started with easy food: rice and mackerel and macaroni with sausages. As I grew I quickly graduated to cooking the Jamaican traditional Sunday dinner. Seeing my family enjoy my food and giving me compliments piqued my interest in cooking. When I had to choose my path in high school it was natural that I chose food and nutrition. I gave it my all and was proud when I succeeded at the CXC level. Three years after graduating, I attended the HEART Runaway academy. I completed levels 1 and 2 and graduated in 2012. I did a few stints at Breezes Runaway Bay and was hungry for more. I joined the team at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel and worked various stations, including breakfast and &agrave; la carte. In 2016, I joined the team at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites where I am able to showcase my culinary skills (come and try my oxtail). After graduating HEART I obtained my BSc in marketing from University College of the Caribbean (UCC). My ultimate dream is to impart my wealth of knowledge to young aspiring chefs who share my passion for the culinary arts. Hard work and dedication are the keys to success. This is my motto and I aim to make my mark in this area.<br /> <br /> RODERICK PAISLEY - Grill Chef, The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites<br /> <br /> My challenges never stopped me&hellip;<br /> <br /> I was determined to be a chef! As I journey down memory lane, I smile at all the challenges I experienced in my younger years. Cooking always intrigued me&hellip; <br /> <br /> It all started when I left high school and did not have a job! I used to try and cook to pass time, then I fell in love with the art of cooking and, based on my love for jerk, I remembered saying to myself one day I will master this! I decided to jerk some chicken and cook soup on the weekends. <br /> <br /> Over time, I got better and my family would look forward to my sumptuous jerk chicken! My brother got a job for me at Sandals as a steward. I was always steadfast and knew that I would not be a steward forever. One day the beach grill chef called in sick. <br /> <br /> Chef Steve Sowa identified my cooking skills and put me to work at the beach grill. From that day I was promoted and have been cooking ever since! That same year I won Employee of the Year (1998). After Sandals, I came back to Kingston and worked at Knutsford Court Hotel as a breakfast chef. <br /> <br /> Then I journeyed on to Sunset Jamaica Grande where I worked in the main kitchen. Now back in Kingston, I enjoy working at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites where my specialty is the Wednesday jerk night grill. <br /> <br /> Jerk was where it all started and I still remain steadfast to exceed the expectations of my guests as I wow them with my delicious authentic jerk. My journey continues&hellip;<br /> <br /> JASON FRANKLYN Banquet Chef, The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites<br /> <br /> From landscaper to dishwasher then prep chef, my dream and determination propelled me to now be among the chefs to watch at this renowned Kingston hotel.<br /> <br /> Right after graduating from high school I joined the labour force at the age of 17. I started working with a relative, doing landscaping and other odd jobs. During high school I had got a Christmas stint to work in a local restaurant in Spanish Town called Jamanda&rsquo;s, as a dishwasher, which is where I was introduced to the food industry.<br /> <br /> While working there, the manager saw my potential and offered me a permanent post, as the dishwasher was leaving. I didn&rsquo;t hesitate as I was enjoying my experience there. During my years of being a dishwasher, he would often give me words of encouragement, pushing me to go to another level and not just stay as a dishwasher. I took his advice and began training as a prep chef, and even went beyond that level to learn all aspects of the kitchen, being exposed to cooking a wide variety of local and Chinese cuisines.<br /> <br /> With the new skills I had attained, I felt the need to improve further, so I attended the Phillippo Baptist HEART Skills Training Centre where I learned more about food preparation. I was granted the opportunity to work as a casual at the Knutsford Court Hotel, where I enhanced my skills with new techniques I observed from my team.<br /> <br /> From there, I was transferred to the Courtleigh Hotel & Suites which was very motivating for me to continue to excel in what I enjoy doing. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13728319/265281__w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:00 AM THE REGGAE MILL BAR http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/THE-REGGAE-MILL-BAR_93138 On the hunt for a new watering hole? We recommend the just-opened Reggae Mill Bar inside The Devonshire at the historic Devon House. The brainchild of Alexx Antaeus and Orlease King, operators of the Greek eatery Opa!, which has also relocated to the iconic Hope Road address that was once home to Jamaica&rsquo;s first black millionaire George Stiebel, the Reggae Mill is meant to complement the restaurant (meals from Opa! can be ordered there if you so choose), while also acting as a standalone leisure spot. The Appleton Estate-endorsed space &mdash; where the house deejay plays a soundtrack of Jamaican music genres &mdash; offers patrons such signature drinks as jerk daiquiris infused with Scotch bonnet and thyme and the Devon Country Duppy that&rsquo;s the new bar&rsquo;s twist on the famed libation long associated with Devon House. Finger foods on the menu include jerked chicken wings, salt fish fritters, and other familiar Jamaican fare.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13728464/265603_91842_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:00 AM Third Time&rsquo;s the Charm for Moet http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Third-Time-s-the-Charm-for-Moet_93083 Third time&rsquo;s the charm for Mo&euml;t & Chandon as they partner once more with Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc, Kingston for the island&rsquo;s premier secret event. Celebrating gastronomy and friendship the event welcomes all to feast and frolic at a dinner party like no other.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc is a one-of-a-kind picnic-style global event and due to its Parisian roots enforces a wine and Champagne-only policy. This, coupled with the fact that the event always leaves its patrons with memorable #Mo&euml;tMoments, made Mo&euml;t & Chandon along with Apothic Wines come on board again for the third staging of Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc, Kingston,&rdquo; said Jared Samuel, brand manager, Mo&euml;t Hennessy portfolio.<br /> <br /> The pairing of Champagne with food, friends, and fun is sure to result in a magnificent time. As guests are not allowed to bring their own alcohol and it cannot be bought directly on site, guests who want to enjoy wine and Champagne must pre-purchase via the D&icirc;ner en Blanc e-store. A superb selection is available, including: Mo&euml;t Ice Imperial, Mo&euml;t Brut Imperial, Mo&euml;t Nectar Imperial, and Mo&euml;t Nectar Imperial Ros&eacute;, along with an assortment of Apothic wines courtesy of J Wray & Nephew Ltd.<br /> <br /> Having been a wine partner for Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc, Miami, Chesna Haber, business development manager, wines, sees Apothic as a welcome addition to the 2017 D&icirc;ner en Blanc, Kingston on Saturday, March 25. &ldquo;The Apothic brands have received great exposure and this has shown that there is room in the Jamaican space for wines such as #Apothic to grow.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> As Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc veterans, Samuel and Haber have a few tips on how to make memorable moments with Mo&euml;t and Apothic. Here are five ways to have an even more magical D&icirc;ner en Blanc experience.<br /> <br /> 1 Celebrate family and friendships and enhance your dinner experience by pairing your favourite dish with any of the variants within the Mo&euml;t range.<br /> <br /> 2 Include in your picnic basket pieces of chilled fresh fruits (limes, pineapples, strawberries, raspberries) to accent your glass of Mo&euml;t & Chandon and add an extra taste profile to the Champagne.<br /> <br /> 3 Revel in the mystery, intrigue and pleasure of the night.<br /> <br /> 4 Share your #Mo&euml;tMoments and #Apothic experiences on Facebook and Instagram.<br /> <br /> 5 Have fun, drink responsibly and remember, with Mo&euml;t there will always be #Mo&euml;tMoment (s)!<br /> <br /> About Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc <br /> <br /> Launched in Paris in 1988 by Fran&ccedil;ois Pasquier and a handful of friends, Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc has become a worldwide epicurean phenomenon. D&icirc;ner en Blanc, Paris now attracts over 10,000 people each year. What was a &ldquo;friends and word-of-mouth only&rdquo; event has grown into an international sensation celebrated on five continents. While the technology behind the event may have changed over the years, the principles fuelling this fantastic event have not: guests continue to gather at a secret location for the sole purpose of sharing a gourmet meal with good friends in one of their city&rsquo;s most beautiful public spaces. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Montreal, Canada, D&icirc;ner en Blanc International is responsible for developing this secret posh picnic in over 70 cities in more than 25 countries around the world. Each event is headed by passionate local organisers who fell in love with the concept and wanted to bring it to their city, giving this rendezvous a local flair. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13727893/265528__w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:00 AM Get Creative For Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Get-Creative-For-Le-D-ner-en-Blanc---_93084 Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc may be best known for its ability to transform a public space into a veritable sea of white &mdash; both with the d&eacute;cor and the mustsee fashions that come with it &mdash; but as half of its name suggests, the affair is really all about the gastronomic experience.<br /> <br /> Award-winning chef and caterer Celeste Gordon is one of the featured caterers at this year&rsquo;s Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc and has been a part of the event since it came to Kingston, Jamaica. No stranger to planning events, Gordon loves to see people having a great time, and the beauty of an event like this one is that after her guests have collected their gourmet baskets, she is able to enjoy the event with them. &ldquo;I love the whole spectacle of it, everyone coming in and seeing the set-up. A lot of the time, I&rsquo;m working behind the scenes so I don&rsquo;t get to see that; this way I am able to enjoy both.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Each year, Gordon raises the bar and does things a little differently. This year, she introduces a Comfort Food theme with her inspiration coming from the nature of the event itself. &ldquo;Le D&icirc;ner en Blanc is kind of like a family-style event, with people sitting next to each other and creating an extended dining table, enjoying their dinner, conversing and having a good time around the table. So to create a great food experience, I&rsquo;m offering dishes like the spinach dip - warm and cheesy, and the rice bowl with everything mixed up&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Gordon has noticed this year diners are leaning towards preparing their own gourmet meals, and to help out she shares a few tips:<br /> <br /> Don&rsquo;t play &lsquo;Chef&rsquo;!<br /> <br /> One person should not volunteer to do everything; it works better when everyone pitches in. Everyone has their strengths; play to those.<br /> <br /> Dress Up the Familiar<br /> <br /> Do what you know and then up the game by dressing it up. If you make a great carrot cake, then figure out a way to make your cream cheese frosting extra special. If you are taking smoked marlin, then add some caviar to your cream cheese accompaniment.<br /> <br /> Use Alternate Ingredients<br /> <br /> Experiment with alternate ingredients that will spice up your recipe. If a dish requires cheese, instead of reaching for the usual cheddar or mozzarella, using a sharper cheese will give your dish a surprising kick.<br /> <br /> At the end of the day, whether you go the caterer or the do-it-yourself route, Gordon wants to remind everyone that, &ldquo;cooking isn&rsquo;t rocket science, people should have fun with it, because that&rsquo;s when it all comes together.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13727891/265498__w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:00 AM Looking for great value from Bordeaux? try Cru Bourgeois! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Looking-for-great-value-from-Bordeaux--try-Cru-Bourgeois-_93037 A few weeks ago, while dining at one of Kingston&rsquo;s popular wine destinations, a friend asked me to recommend a bottle of wine for his table. After my usual clarifying questions, I went back to look at the wine selection and decided to choose an old world wine (wines from Europe) instead of the usual new world (wines from everywhere else) fruit bombs that this group was used to drinking. I eventually settled on a bottle of Ch&acirc;teau Magnol, which is a very pleasant and approachable dry, medium-bodied red wine from the Medoc region in Bordeaux, France. Ch&acirc;teau Magnol is the flagship wine of French wine brand Barton & Guestier. The Ch&acirc;teau is not only the world headquarters of Barton & Guestier, but it is also a famous guesthouse, where I had the privilege to stay and have some amazing meals courtesy of Chef  Fr&eacute;d&eacute;ric Prouvoyeur. The facility is home to a true wine school: the Barton & Guestier Food & Wine Academy led by Solange Galan, Ch&acirc;teau Magnol education manager. I had the honour of attending the academy while visiting Bordeaux in 2005.<br /> <br /> History of Ch&acirc;teau Magnol<br /> <br /> Ch&acirc;teau Magnol&rsquo;s history goes back to 1842 when Monsieur Delisse, an agronomist, consolidated the vineyards surrounding the former Ch&acirc;teau du Dehez. In 1969, the vineyards were purchased by Barton & Guestier who undertook major investments in the vineyards and cellars. The efforts were recognised and celebrated in 1979 when the wine was classified &ldquo;Cru Bourgeois&rdquo;. In the same year Barton & Guestier bought the Chateau and consolidated Ch&acirc;teau and vineyards under the name of Ch&acirc;teau Magnol. <br /> <br /> Wine classification in Bordeaux<br /> <br /> To assist visitors attending the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris, Napoleon III requested a classification system for France&rsquo;s best Bordeaux wines. Wine professionals of the day ranked the wines according to a Ch&acirc;teau&rsquo;s reputation and trading price, which at that time was directly related to quality. The wines were ranked in importance from first to fifth growths (crus). All the red wines that made it on the list came from the M&eacute;doc region except for one: Ch&acirc;teau Haut-Brion from Graves. <br /> <br /> Cru Bourgeois<br /> <br /> Created in 1932, the main purpose of the Cru Bourgeois classification was to identify and give a commercial boost to these lesser-known estates that were not featured in the 1855 classifications. They split the wine into three tiers: Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, Cru Bourgeois Sup&eacute;rieur and Cru Bourgeois; these classifications would be redone every 12 years. The history of the Cru Bourgeois classification has been rocky and fraught with legal battle from then to recent times &mdash; who is in, who is out, why them and not us. <br /> <br /> Ch&acirc;teau Magnol in Jamaica<br /> <br /> This wine was once imported by Lascelles Wines and Spirits and I had the pleasure of tasting it on many occasions, and I was never disappointed; as a matter of fact, I recently found a bottle of the 2001 vintage, which I promptly devoured and was surprised with the fruit quality, soundness of the wine and all-round drinking pleasure the bottle delivered. It is now imported by Select Brands and the wine is still a pleasure to drink. Ch&acirc;teau Magnol is usually a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and small amounts of Cabernet Franc.<br /> <br /> If you are looking for great value from Bordeaux, do try a Cru Bourgeois wine.<br /> <br /> Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13727881/265419__w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:00 AM Speakeasy at the Melia Braco Resort Part 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Speakeasy-at-the-Melia-Braco-Resort-Part-1_92322 Last Saturday, members of the Cha&Atilde;&reg;ne des R&Atilde;&acute;tisseurs, the world&rsquo;s oldest international gastronomic society, checked into the Melia Braco Resort in Trelawny to attend &ldquo;Speakeasy&rdquo; hosted inside the 876 Prime Restaurant where hosts Maitre hotelier Dimitris Kosvogiannis, Melia&rsquo;s general manager, and Executive Chef Frederick Gayle promised a memorable evening. <br /> <br /> What is a Speakeasy?<br /> <br /> Between 1920 and 1933, the USA had outlawed the manufacturing, sale, and transportation of all beer, wines, and spirits in an attempt to reduce crime and drunkenness. The plan backfired as during this period of prohibition thousands of hidden or disguised illegal bars known as speakeasies (named because one was not to talk about these places publicly, but rather &lsquo;talk very softly&rsquo;, or speakeasy, so as not to alert the authorities) popped up all over North America. Some reports say that there were twice the number of establishments illegally selling alcohol than what legally existed before and, ironically, gang activity and crime skyrocketed during this time. <br /> <br /> Guests were ushered in by male models sporting a Chippendales look to a lounge area for cocktails and hors d&rsquo; oeuvres ahead of dinner and mingled freely with the hotel&rsquo;s general manager Dimitris Kosvogiannis &mdash; who, ever the showman &mdash; regaled guests with the promise of &lsquo;forbidden treats&rsquo; they would savour in a secret restaurant led to only by his &lsquo;Gatsby Girls&rsquo; as they (the guests) would be blindfolded.<br /> <br /> Once inside the restaurant the lights were turned on to reveal beautifully laid-out tablescapes, which was an apt indication of the wonderful surprise-filled evening ahead.<br /> <br /> Our host Kosvogiannis welcomed guests once more before asking the property&rsquo;s Executive Chef Frederick Gayle to outline the evening&rsquo;s menu. Gayle ably supported his general manager on the lengths that had to be undertaken to prepare the evening&rsquo;s fare, such as procuring the ostrich loins directly from South Africa and sending employees to procure the Waygu beef tenderloin in Miami. All this made for a light and amusing evening.<br /> <br /> And the menu that was placed before us did not initially seem that impressive, until Chef Frederick Gayle announced the first dish &mdash; Savoy Coconut, Lobster, Corn Cr&Atilde;&uml;me Br&Atilde;&raquo;l&Atilde;&copy;e &mdash; that was certainly not what was listed! It was at this juncture that we were were instructed to peel off a strip of paper, revealing what we would actually be served. This surprise continued for the entire eight courses. <br /> <br /> The reviews midway the eight courses were all of praise especially for the savoy coconut lobster with corn cr&Atilde;&uml;me br&Atilde;&raquo;l&Atilde;&copy;e. <br /> <br /> The superb service delivered by the waitstaff did not go unnoticed with many acknowledging their precision timing and efficacy. <br /> <br /> As is customary with dinners of this nature, each course was paired with its own wine. The great thing with these wines is that most are widely available in the retail trade, so patrons can easily buy a few of their favourites. This list included: a charming William Fevre Chablis (France), the zesty aromatic Mudhouse Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand), a very lively Banrock Station Moscato (Australia), The Fresh Juicy Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz (Australia), a clean Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (Italy), the very approachable well-balanced Meiomi Pinot Noir (California), the rare, rich, sweet and very delicate Inniskillin Gold Vidal Ice Wine (Canada). My favourite for the evening was the very refreshing Mudhouse Sauvignon Blanc. <br /> <br /> The musical styling of Ana Strachan and Rory Frankson, accompanied by saxophonist Jean Pierre Perez, violinist Caleb and Joshua Clarke on both trumpet and keyboard, found favour with all and was as sweet and seamless as the wine pairings for each dish. <br /> <br /> Christopher Reckord &mdash; Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13712340/263982_90530_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 16, 2017 2:00 AM Chefs to watch for 2017 - The Knutsford Court Hotel http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Chefs-to-watch-for-2017_92394 Thursday Food highlights five more chefs who are charged with introducing visitors and locals to the best culinary offerings in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> This week&rsquo;s featured chefs are from The Knutsford Court Hotel, Kingston. <br /> <br /> Jamique Mair<br /> <br /> Junior Chef, The Knutsford Court Hotel<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> I think there was no way around it, cooking chose me! <br /> <br /> Whilst growing up I always knew I was destined to become a chef. My first love was pastry, so my dream was to be a pastry chef. I loved sweets and pastries, so what&rsquo;s better than making your own desserts? I&rsquo;ll tell you... eating it!<br /> <br /> Saturday morning market runs with Grandma were the highlight of my week as a child. Walking through the market with her and seeing all the freshly harvested produce made my imagination and my belly go wild. <br /> <br /> It was as though I was attached to my grandma&rsquo;s hips once she was in the kitchen cooking up a storm. I watched and recorded her every move. She was never too busy to answer any of my many questions. I still am very grateful to her for all the family secrets she passed on to me.<br /> <br /> High school is where the flower started to bloom. Cooking was now natural. After finishing school, I signed up with the Boulevard Baptist Skills and Training Centre to do commercial food preparation. During my time there I entered the JCDC culinary competition and was awarded two gold medals. <br /> <br /> In 2012, I started my first professional chef job with the Knutsford Court Hotel team. <br /> <br /> Here, I continue to grow both in career and professionalism. I was offered the opportunity to enter the Taste of Jamaica Culinary Competition to represent the Knutsford Court Hotel in 2015 and 2016. I was successful in winning two gold and two silver medals in each year at these competitions.<br /> <br /> I am now pursuing my CIA Pro Chef course at the Runaway Bay HEART Academy, St Ann in my quest to become an executive chef. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Rohan Dixon<br /> <br /> Junior Chef, Knutsford Court Hotel<br /> <br /> I grew up in Melbrook Heights, a small community in Harbour View. <br /> <br /> In early 2014 I found myself working as a waiter at Pollyanna&rsquo;s Caterers. I started out making cocktail<br /> <br /> sandwiches and plating for large functions. I didn&rsquo;t really commit myself to any profession seriously at this time but gradually I excelled in plating, table setting and decorating rooms for wedding and banquets. <br /> <br /> I recall our culinary team receiving a standing ovation at a wedding for the efforts put out to ensure a memorable day. This gesture sent chills through every fibre of my body and opened my eyes to the public&rsquo;s appreciation of this skill. Within 24 hours I was registered full time at the Professional Development Institute off Maxfield Avenue for Level 1 Food Preparation. I worked part-time at the Flour Mill while attending classes full-time. <br /> <br /> After the completion of my course, I got the opportunity to work at the Knutsford Court Hotel as a waiter. This wasn&rsquo;t what I desired but waitering was the area in which I had vast experience. I didn&rsquo;t let it bother me too much, as I knew my ultimate aim was to work as a chef at this establishment. <br /> <br /> While working as a waiter, I asked the head chef if I could work in the kitchen on my days off. With permission granted I spent many hours in the kitchen learning as much as I could. Shortly thereafter I transferred from being a waiter to a full-time junior chef. This was the beginning of my fantastic journey. I was still young in the industry but the Knutsford Court team moulded and developed me into a professional chef. I continued my studies with the intention of reaching heights beyond my wildest dreams.<br /> <br /> I think it is important to stay grounded, work hard and never forget where we started. All chefs must reach down and help other young chefs. To our executive chef Louis Matthews, I say thank you for believing in me. The Professional Development Institute family, keep looking up as I am a reflection of your dedication to &ldquo;Chef on the Rise&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Vincent McDonald<br /> <br /> Junior Chef, Knutsford Court Hotel <br /> <br /> The question I struggle with is: cooking an art or a science?<br /> <br /> My pull to cooking is within that one question. Which is better? The styling of meals on a plate or the flavours when tiny pieces of each ingredient combine in your mouth? <br /> <br /> As early as I can recall, I always knew that both are equally important. I was always drawn to the creation and combination of foods. Cooking gives me a chance to show the world the creative and versatile side of me. <br /> <br /> Ever since I was in high school, home economics was my favourite class. I have over the past 13 years worked at quite a few large hotels and restaurants across the island and have gained vast experience and knowledge. I have managed to master the art of plating as well as combining flavours that tantalise the taste buds.<br /> <br /> I am now a part of the team at the Knutsford Court that manages and operates a very busy banqueting facility. This is very rewarding as our ultimate goal is guest satisfaction. My organisational and management skills have to be at its best each day. <br /> <br /> Akai Lindsay<br /> <br /> Junior Chef, Knutsford Court Hotel<br /> <br /> Food has always been something I loved. My first cooking experience was when I attempted to prepare dinner for my grandmother at 11 years old. <br /> <br /> Dinner didn&rsquo;t turn out as expected as it all went up in smoke. This slight setback made me even more determined to become the best chef I could be.<br /> <br /> Excelsior High School was where I fostered my culinary ambition through Food and Nutrition classes. It was there I made my first white chocolate cheesecake which turned out very well. There&rsquo;d be no turning back.<br /> <br /> I rushed home that very evening to inform my mother of my decision to become a chef. She in turn pushed me every step of the way. At age 15, I worked for some of the island&rsquo;s most recognised caterers. Shortly thereafter, I became a member of the Jamaica Culinary Federation. <br /> <br /> In 2015 I enrolled at Boys&rsquo; Town HEART Academy. I graduated as a certified Chef de Partie with the award of prestigious Spirit of HEART honour. This award was a huge motivation for me to push harder in my skill area.<br /> <br /> One of the most valuable lessons I learnt along the way is &ldquo;as a chef, you&rsquo;re only as good as the last dish you prepared&rdquo;. So I strive for excellence at all times.<br /> <br /> I recently ventured into a whole new world when I was employed within the hotel industry. The Melting Pot Restaurant at the Knutsford Court Hotel is where I learned the art of plating and operating in a busy a la carte kitchen. <br /> <br /> Nothing can replace the buzz of completing a busy service period then walking through the restaurant to interact with guests. Their comments and feedback are more valuable to me and my direction. <br /> <br /> Always in pursuit of knowledge, I have enrolled at the HEART College of Hospitality, Runaway Bay where I am pursuing the Culinary Institute of America course for my Chef de Cuisine qualifications. <br /> <br /> Carlos Alphanso Vincent<br /> <br /> Junior Chef, Knutsford Court Hotel<br /> <br /> What excites me most about cooking is the chemistry of it - the marriage of flavours never fails to excite me. Indeed, I get goosebumps when I see the perfect dish! <br /> <br /> As a young lad growing up, I spent most of my time in the street markets in Brooklyn, New York.<br /> <br /> I was particularly fascinated with the variety of fruits and vegetables, things I had never seen back home. I gravitated to making unique juices and sauces. I had the pleasure of combining fruits and vegetables such as Dragon Fruit, Kumquats, Mooli and Galangal. All were my secret ingredients for adding flavour to my Jamaican cuisine. <br /> <br /> My love for food was passed down through my family. My mom was an excellent cook but my grandma was even better (we can&rsquo;t let mom know this though). She motivated me in whatever challenges I took on. <br /> <br /> Once I became of age, I begged my family for a job in the family-owned restaurant. With everyone being aware of my love for food, and always spending so much time in the kitchen, the answer was very simple...yes! This is where my journey really began. My daily special out-sold most of the restaurant&rsquo;s top-selling dishes. This made my mother very proud. <br /> <br /> When I came back to Jamaica in 2011, I signed up with Caribbean Institute of Hospitality. This was my first professional chef course, however, I had years of experience under my belt or rather in the pot. <br /> <br /> Presently, I am with the Knutsford Court hotel as a restaurant chef and it&rsquo;s a fantastic experience. Our team works closely with each other. There is a Melting Pot of knowledge and culinary experience from which we all feed. <br /> <br /> I am currently enrolled to do my CIA in September of 2017 at Runaway Bay HEART.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13717342/264216_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 16, 2017 2:00 AM Chefs to watch for 2017 - Jewel Resorts and Hilton Rose Hall http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Chefs-to-watch-for-2017---Jewel-Resorts-and-Hilton-Rose-Hall_91524 Thursday Food highlights five more chefs who are charged with introducing visitors and locals to the best culinary offerings in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> This week&rsquo;s featured chefs are from Jewel Resorts and Hilton Rose Hall respectively.<br /> <br /> Donald Harrison <br /> <br /> Sous-chef at Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa<br /> <br /> Chef Donald Harrison&rsquo;s appreciation for food was developed at a young age. During his formative years, he had visions of going in a different direction, having majored in carpentry at high school before going on to work at a garage. However, his love for cooking did not wane and it was not long before he decided to attend the Runaway Bay HEART Academy. <br /> <br /> He pursued his career with fervour then started working at the FDR Hotel (Franklin D Resort Hotel) where his passion developed for different cuisines. This led him to specialise in Italian cuisine and he later became the lead chef for the hotel&rsquo;s Italian restaurant. His search for more knowledge led him to Grand Lido Braco in Falmouth, Trelawny and to international opportunities where he had stints on the Royal Caribbean cruise lines and other overseas programmes. His love for Jamaica led him back home to the Half Moon Hotel where his talent was recognied. He honed his considerable skills and became a garde manger under the tutelage of Executive Chef Stephen Sowa. Chef Harrison has made thr foray into small business management where he specialises in catering.<br /> <br /> Harrison&rsquo;s years of experience have allowed him to grow from range one cook to management positions in the kitchen. Now he shares his skills and love for food at Jewel Paradise Beach Resort & Spa where he is currently a sous-chef.<br /> <br /> His ultimate dream is to lecture at the tertiary level where he will be able to impart his wealth of knowledge to young chefs who share his passion for the culinary arts.<br /> <br /> Chef Lennox Smart<br /> <br /> Sous-Chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa<br /> <br /> Chef Lennox Smart was inspired by his grandmother during his childhood years when he would help her to prepare dinner on Sunday afternoons in Kingston, Jamaica. <br /> <br /> Smart has carried that interest and passion throughout a career spanning more than 20 years, taking him from Jamaica to Canada and back. He prides himself on providing his customers with a culinary experience they will never forget.<br /> <br /> Chef Smart&rsquo;s culinary journey surprisingly began when he was an infantry soldier in the Jamaica Defence Force, where he was introduced to cooking on a large scale and loved it! After leaving the JDF, he attended the University of Technology (UTech), graduating in Hospitality & Tourism, with a major in Culinary Arts.<br /> <br /> His next stop was Inflight Cooking at Versair, Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston followed by a stint at Andrews Memorial Hospital in Kingston, where he worked as a dietician assistant/chef.<br /> <br /> Smart&rsquo;s culinary career took off when he migrated to Canada to work at the prestigious Harvest Golf Club, British Columbia and enrolled at Okanagan University College and gained the North American Red Seal in Culinary Arts. He also worked at the Halcyon Hot Springs Hotel, also in BC where he garnered more experience in all areas of the kitchen.<br /> <br /> While at the Harvest Golf Club, Chef Smart was promoted to sous-chef, overseeing the Harvest Golf Club Restaurant, Lounge and Grill with full responsibility for the banqueting kitchen which catered for dinners, weddings and golf tournaments with up to 500 guests.<br /> <br /> In 2014, Smart had a yearning to return to his homeland to be with his family and to contribute to the development of the culinary arts in the ever-expanding tourism industry. He joined Sunset Beach Resorts and Spa in Montego Bay as a sous-chef before moving to his present position at Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa.<br /> <br /> Lennox is very ambitious and is on his way to becoming an executive chef. <br /> <br /> Philbert Simms<br /> <br /> Sous-Chef at Jewel Dunn&rsquo;s River Beach Resort & Spa<br /> <br /> Philbert Simms hails from the beautiful and now more well-known parish of Trelawny courtesy of Usain Bolt. His culinary journey started at the Runaway Bay HEART Academy in January 1994.<br /> <br /> After leaving that institution, which he thanks for his culinary start, Simms worked at Jamaica-Jamaica for nine-and-a-half years up to a supervisory level. Simms then joined the Royal Decameron team as a sous-chef for four years and within that period, through dedication and hard work, was promoted to executive chef. <br /> <br /> With his passion for cooking and exploring new avenues to showcase his talent, he then joined The Grand Bahia Principe as sous-chef, the first Jamaican to be employed in that capacity. <br /> <br /> Simms worked as a sous-chef with Costa Crociere Cruise Line (Costa&rsquo;s cruise line out of Italy), assistant chef at Disney Cruise Line and executive chef at FDR Hotel.<br /> <br /> His journey has now taken him to the Jewel Dunn&rsquo;s River Beach Resort and Spa, where he serves as sous-chef of part of a growing resort group. Already Simms&rsquo;s menus have gained the reputation of satisfying the most discerning palates through their appeal, innovation and attention to detail.<br /> <br /> With his wide knowledge of international cuisine including Italian, American, Asian and European, Philbert plans to motivate any young individual in the kitchen who wants to learn, while contributing effectively and efficiently to the growth and development of the organisation. He believes in giving back and now finds a great opportunity to do just that!<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Chef Rian Gray <br /> <br /> Pastry Chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa<br /> <br /> Chef Gray is the beloved pastry chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa and has had an interest in the industry since he was a schoolboy. His ambition was always to become a chef.<br /> <br /> At 16, Gray enrolled in the Runaway Bay HEART Academy to study culinary arts. While completing the two-year training course, Gray was sent on internship as a trainee to Sandals Montego Bay. From the very first day he was put in the pastry department, he excelled and was so good that they kept him there for the entire two years!<br /> <br /> Shortly after graduating, Gray was transferred along with another chef to start the Pastry Shop at Sandals Inn in Montego Bay and was also promoted to pastry chef!<br /> <br /> In pursuit of growth and self-development, he joined Dak International, a distribution company importing specialist pastry products to Jamaica, where he made desserts and cakes which were sold to local restaurants and hotels in Jamaica. He garnered further baking experience as head baker at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Hotel, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Celebrity Cruises in the Caribbean as pastry chef. Chef Gray has also worked as head pastry chef at Wyndham Rose Hall, Breezes Runaway Bay and Sandals Grande Ocho Rios, and at Disney Cruise Line as pastry chef for five years. It was during those years that Gray learned to cater for large numbers and produce the most amazing desserts that satisfied the most discerning palates.<br /> <br /> In 2016, Chef Gray returned to Jamaica to the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa where he is currently lending his considerable skills and experience by showcasing chocolate and sugar sculpting, wedding cakes and plated desserts. Chef Gray has won numerous medals and trophies in Jamaican culinary competitions over the years.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Jodian Blake<br /> <br /> Sous-Chef at Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Club<br /> <br /> Jodian Blake was born in the beautiful parish of Portland, and has been cooking since the age of five, often watching her mom in the kitchen. Jodian channelled her energy into what she had learned from an early age. With her passion for cooking, she attended the Runaway Bay HEART Academy and graduated in 2001. From there she entered the hotel industry and worked in various areas in the kitchen such as breakfast preparation and &Atilde;  la carte. She joined Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Club in 2012 as a pantry cook where she was responsible for all cold production for the Moonstone Italian Restaurant.<br /> <br /> After three years of hard work and dedication she was promoted to pantry supervisor. Her dedication to her increased role also saw her being given the responsibility for all weddings and catered events for the hotel which is renowned for its smooth execution of signature programmes. Blake did not stop there; soon after she was promoted to sous-chef, undertaking all the challenges and opportunities that come with that role. She is working her way to being a recognised culinarian in the future. Her team thinks she is on her way and with all the effort and dedication to her tasks, Jodian is primed for even greater success. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Donald Harrison <br /> <br /> Sous-chef at Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa<br /> <br /> Chef Donald Harrison&rsquo;s appreciation for food was developed at a young age. During his formative years, he had visions of going in a different direction, having majored in carpentry at high school before going on to work at a garage. However, his love for cooking did not wane and it was not long before he decided to attend the Runaway Bay HEART Academy. <br /> <br /> He pursued his career with fervour then started working at the FDR Hotel (Franklin D Resort Hotel) where his passion developed for different cuisines. This led him to specialise in Italian cuisine and he later became the lead chef for the hotel&rsquo;s Italian restaurant. His search for more knowledge led him to Grand Lido Braco in Falmouth, Trelawny and to international opportunities where he had stints on the Royal Caribbean cruise lines and other overseas programmes. His love for Jamaica led him back home to the Half Moon Hotel where his talent was recognied. He honed his considerable skills and became a garde manger under the tutelage of Executive Chef Stephen Sowa. Chef Harrison has made thr foray into small business management where he specialises in catering.<br /> <br /> Harrison&rsquo;s years of experience have allowed him to grow from range one cook to management positions in the kitchen. Now he shares his skills and love for food at Jewel Paradise Beach Resort & Spa where he is currently a sous-chef.<br /> <br /> His ultimate dream is to lecture at the tertiary level where he will be able to impart his wealth of knowledge to young chefs who share his passion for the culinary arts.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Chef Lennox Smart <br /> <br /> Sous-Chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa<br /> <br /> Chef Lennox Smart was inspired by his grandmother during his childhood years when he would help her to prepare dinner on Sunday afternoons in Kingston, Jamaica. <br /> <br /> Smart has carried that interest and passion throughout a career spanning more than 20 years, taking him from Jamaica to Canada and back. He prides himself on providing his customers with a culinary experience they will never forget.<br /> <br /> Chef Smart&rsquo;s culinary journey surprisingly began when he was an infantry soldier in the Jamaica Defence Force, where he was introduced to cooking on a large scale and loved it! After leaving the JDF, he attended the University of Technology (UTech), graduating in Hospitality & Tourism, with a major in Culinary Arts.<br /> <br /> His next stop was Inflight Cooking at Versair, Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston followed by a stint at Andrews Memorial Hospital in Kingston, where he worked as a dietician assistant/chef.<br /> <br /> Smart&rsquo;s culinary career took off when he migrated to Canada to work at the prestigious Harvest Golf Club, British Columbia and enrolled at Okanagan University College and gained the North American Red Seal in Culinary Arts. He also worked at the Halcyon Hot Springs Hotel, also in BC where he garnered more experience in all areas of the kitchen.<br /> <br /> While at the Harvest Golf Club, Chef Smart was promoted to sous-chef, overseeing the Harvest Golf Club Restaurant, Lounge and Grill with full responsibility for the banqueting kitchen which catered for dinners, weddings and golf tournaments with up to 500 guests.<br /> <br /> In 2014, Smart had a yearning to return to his homeland to be with his family and to contribute to the development of the culinary arts in the ever-expanding tourism industry. He joined Sunset Beach Resorts and Spa in Montego Bay as a sous-chef before moving to his present position at Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa.<br /> <br /> Lennox is very ambitious and is on his way to becoming an executive chef. <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Philbert Simms<br /> <br /> Sous-Chef at Jewel Dunn&rsquo;s River Beach Resort & Spa<br /> <br /> Philbert Simms hails from the beautiful and now more well-known parish of Trelawny courtesy of Usain Bolt. His culinary journey started at the Runaway Bay HEART Academy in January 1994.<br /> <br /> After leaving that institution, which he thanks for his culinary start, Simms worked at Jamaica-Jamaica for nine-and-a-half years up to a supervisory level. Simms then joined the Royal Decameron team as a sous-chef for four years and within that period, through dedication and hard work, was promoted to executive chef. <br /> <br /> With his passion for cooking and exploring new avenues to showcase his talent, he then joined The Grand Bahia Principe as sous-chef, the first Jamaican to be employed in that capacity. <br /> <br /> Simms worked as a sous-chef with Costa Crociere Cruise Line (Costa&rsquo;s cruise line out of Italy), assistant chef at Disney Cruise Line and executive chef at FDR Hotel.<br /> <br /> His journey has now taken him to the Jewel Dunn&rsquo;s River Beach Resort and Spa, where he serves as sous-chef of part of a growing resort group. Already Simms&rsquo;s menus have gained the reputation of satisfying the most discerning palates through their appeal, innovation and attention to detail.<br /> <br /> With his wide knowledge of international cuisine including Italian, American, Asian and European, Philbert plans to motivate any young individual in the kitchen who wants to learn, while contributing effectively and efficiently to the growth and development of the organisation. He believes in giving back and now finds a great opportunity to do just that!<br /> <br /> Chef Rian Gray<br /> <br /> Pastry Chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa<br /> <br /> Chef Gray is the beloved pastry chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa and has had an interest in the industry since he was a schoolboy. His ambition was always to become a chef.<br /> <br /> At 16, Gray enrolled in the Runaway Bay HEART Academy to study culinary arts. While completing the two-year training course, Gray was sent on internship as a trainee to Sandals Montego Bay. From the very first day he was put in the pastry department, he excelled and was so good that they kept him there for the entire two years!<br /> <br /> Shortly after graduating, Gray was transferred along with another chef to start the Pastry Shop at Sandals Inn in Montego Bay and was also promoted to pastry chef!<br /> <br /> In pursuit of growth and self-development, he joined Dak International, a distribution company importing specialist pastry products to Jamaica, where he made desserts and cakes which were sold to local restaurants and hotels in Jamaica. He garnered further baking experience as head baker at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Hotel, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Celebrity Cruises in the Caribbean as pastry chef. Chef Gray has also worked as head pastry chef at Wyndham Rose Hall, Breezes Runaway Bay and Sandals Grande Ocho Rios, and at Disney Cruise Line as pastry chef for five years. It was during those years that Gray learned to cater for large numbers and produce the most amazing desserts that satisfied the most discerning palates.<br /> <br /> In 2016, Chef Gray returned to Jamaica to the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa where he is currently lending his considerable skills and experience by showcasing chocolate and sugar sculpting, wedding cakes and plated desserts. Chef Gray has won numerous medals and trophies in Jamaican culinary competitions over the years.<br /> <br /> Jodian Blake<br /> <br /> Sous-Chef at Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Club<br /> <br /> Jodian Blake was born in the beautiful parish of Portland, and has been cooking since the age of five, often watching her mom in the kitchen. Jodian channelled her energy into what she had learned from an early age. With her passion for cooking, she attended the Runaway Bay HEART Academy and graduated in 2001. From there she entered the hotel industry and worked in various areas in the kitchen such as breakfast preparation and &Atilde;  la carte. She joined Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Club in 2012 as a pantry cook where she was responsible for all cold production for the Moonstone Italian Restaurant.<br /> <br /> After three years of hard work and dedication she was promoted to pantry supervisor. Her dedication to her increased role also saw her being given the responsibility for all weddings and catered events for the hotel which is renowned for its smooth execution of signature programmes. Blake did not stop there; soon after she was promoted to sous-chef, undertaking all the challenges and opportunities that come with that role. She is working her way to being a recognised culinarian in the future. Her team thinks she is on her way and with all the effort and dedication to her tasks, Jodian is primed for even greater success. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13697282/262361_89324_repro_w300.jpg Local Lifestyle Thursday, March 09, 2017 3:00 AM Big Bengtsson Theory http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Big-Bengtsson-Theory_91646 The Rock arm of the international Iberostarchef On Tour series remained in Scandinavian territory as the Danish Ronny Embory passed the culinary baton to Swede Emma Bengtsson, both Michelin-star peers and New York City residents. Pastry chef-cum-executive chef Bengtsson, who earned a second Michelin-star &mdash; two stars translate to &ldquo;excellent cooking, worth a detour or table excellente, m&Atilde;&copy;rite un d&Atilde;&copy;tour&rdquo; &mdash; for her employer, the Aquavit restaurant, back in 2015, showcased her double-threat talent last Saturday at the Iberostar Grand Hotel in Rose Hall. Thursday Life unfurls the napkin for a taste of Nordic influence. <br /> <br /> PHOTOS: ANTONIO GRAHAM & EVAN SUNG<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13697331/262573_89336_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 09, 2017 3:00 AM Recipe Corner... The Centro Restaurant of the Courtyard Marriott http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Recipe-Corner----The-Centro-Restaurant-of-the-Courtyard-Marriott_90746 Perhaps the city&rsquo;s best kept secret is the stylish fare that is plated daily at The Centro Restaurant of the Courtyard Marriott in New Kingston. Managing the process is head chef Coatiest Gabbidon, who joined the team in September 2015. Indeed, Gabbidon entered the food business as a supermarket bag packer but was quickly promoted to meat-cutting attendant shortly after leaving high school. This early exposure in the food industry along with his avid interest in creating meals quickly led him to a job with the Allerdyce Inn Hotel. This opportunity provided him with the motivation to further his education in the food industry at the prestigious HEART Runaway Bay Hotel & Training Institute before being awarded a job at Crowne Plaza Hotel. <br /> <br /> He then moved on to the Ritz-Carlton Rosehall Hotel, Montego Bay. This valuable experience with the Ritz-Carlton culinary family aided him in later being awarded a part-scholarship at the internationally acclaimed Johnson & Wales University, Miami Campus. During his studies overseas, he was afforded the opportunity to work with the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne before returning to Jamaica to impart his newly attained knowledge with the Jamaica Culinary Federation, Sandals Royal Plantation, Super Plus Food Deli and the Knutsford Court Hotel.<br /> <br /> Thursday Food enjoyed, last week Saturday, a few cocktails, appetisers and mains that were so delish that not only did we capture them but respectfully asked for a few recipes to share with our readers. <br /> <br /> Sunset<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1 oz Mango pur&eacute;e<br /> <br /> 1 oz Captain Morgan&rsquo;s Spice Rum<br /> <br /> 1/2 oz Blue Curacao<br /> <br /> 1/4 oz lime juice<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Shake mango pur&eacute;e, lime juice and rum over ice.<br /> <br /> Serve in a chilled martini glass with a splash of Blue Curacao layered at the bottom.<br /> <br /> Mint Mari<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1/2 oz peach schnapps<br /> <br /> 1 oz white rum<br /> <br /> 1/4 oz simple syrup<br /> <br /> 1/4 oz strawberry syrup<br /> <br /> 1/4 oz orange juice<br /> <br /> 1 oz Ting<br /> <br /> Mint to garnish<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Strawberry syrup, white rum, orange juice, shaken over ice topped with simple syrup mixed with peach schnapps with a splash of Ting served in a beer pilsner.<br /> <br /> Garnish with a hint of mint. <br /> <br /> Zesty Fried Shrimp<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 3-4 pcs shrimp peeled & deveined<br /> <br /> 4 oz passion fruit pur&eacute;e<br /> <br /> 3-4 pcs bamboo skewer<br /> <br /> 2 pcs anise seed<br /> <br /> 1 pc garlic, minced<br /> <br /> 0.8 ozs onion, minced<br /> <br /> 0.7 fl oz lime juice<br /> <br /> 3.2 oz panko breadcrumbs<br /> <br /> 2 ea whole egg, beaten<br /> <br /> 1.5 fl oz whole milk<br /> <br /> 1 oz counter flour<br /> <br /> Salt<br /> <br /> Black pepper<br /> <br /> 2 fl oz white wine<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Rinse shrimps under running water and drain before adding salt and pepper. Skewer shrimp individually from tail to top. Use the standard breading process to crust shrimps individually by first dredging them in flour, then eggs beaten with milk and then bread crumbs.<br /> <br /> Be sure to shake off the excess ingredients during the breading process. <br /> <br /> Cook each crusted shrimp by frying at 350&deg;F for 4 mins or until golden brown.<br /> <br /> Sauce <br /> <br /> Saut&eacute;e onion, garlic and anise seed until flavours have been released. <br /> <br /> Deglaze with white wine. Add passion fruit pur&eacute;e and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. <br /> <br /> Allow to simmer to a semithick consistency. Serve shrimp with sauce on the side.<br /> <br /> Asian Curried Tartlets<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 0.8 oz yellow squash, local, small diced<br /> <br /> 0.8 oz zuchini, local, small diced<br /> <br /> 1.3 oz ripe plantains, small diced<br /> <br /> 0.8 oz sweet bell peppers, small diced<br /> <br /> 0.8 oz tomatoes, small diced<br /> <br /> 3 pcs puff pastry cups/purse<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp curry paste<br /> <br /> Salt<br /> <br /> Black pepper<br /> <br /> 4 fl oz coconut milk<br /> <br /> 1 tsp cumin powder<br /> <br /> 0.3 oz Scotch bonnet pepper<br /> <br /> 1 tsp vegetable oil<br /> <br /> 2 fl oz white wine<br /> <br /> 2 oz papaya chutney<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Saut&eacute;e curry paste for 2 minutes.<br /> <br /> Add all diced vegetables and Scotch bonnet pepper, then continue saut&eacute;ing for an additional 4 minutes.<br /> <br /> Deglaze with wine.<br /> <br /> Add coconut milk and allow to simmer to desired consistency.<br /> <br /> Add salt and pepper to taste.<br /> <br /> Add portions of the curried vegetables to individual pieces of puff pastry cups.<br /> <br /> Arrange cups/tartlets on plate and serve with chutney.<br /> <br /> Gourmet Thin-Crust Pizza<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 2.1 oz smoked salmon, slices<br /> <br /> 0.9 oz callaloo (chopped, seasoned and steamed)<br /> <br /> 0.6 oz red onions (diced and saut&eacute;ed)<br /> <br /> 0.6 oz sweet bell Peppers (diced and saut&eacute;ed)<br /> <br /> 2.2 oz mozzarella cheese<br /> <br /> Fresh basil, as desired<br /> <br /> 2 fl oz marinara sauce<br /> <br /> 1 whole grain thin pizza crust<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Lightly base crust with marinara sauce. Add shredded cheese. Add and arrange all vegetables, basil and smoked salmon. <br /> <br /> Bake at 350&deg;F for 10 minutes or until cheese forms a golden crust. Cut and arrange on plate as desired. <br /> <br /> Serve with a petite bowl of mixed salad greens. <br /> <br /> Centro Classic Duo<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 5-6 ozs local beef short ribs<br /> <br /> 3-4 pcs shrimp, peeled and deveined<br /> <br /> 5 fl oz red wine<br /> <br /> 1.5 tsp melted butter<br /> <br /> 1.5 ozs onion, small diced<br /> <br /> 1 oz escallion, chopped<br /> <br /> 2 pcs garlic, chopped<br /> <br /> 1 oz carrots, chopped<br /> <br /> 1 oz celery, chopped thyme<br /> <br /> 1.4 oz tomato, chopped<br /> <br /> 3 oz Irish potato, medium diced<br /> <br /> 3 cups water<br /> <br /> Salt<br /> <br /> Black pepper<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Saut&eacute;e onion, escallion, tomato, thyme, garlic and celery in melted butter.<br /> <br /> Deglaze with red wine.<br /> <br /> Add water and stir.<br /> <br /> Add salt, pepper and bring to a boil.<br /> <br /> Remove from fire.<br /> <br /> Add beef, cover and place in oven at 250&deg;F until tender but not falling off the bones.<br /> <br /> Place shrimp in liquid with beef and allow to cook for 3 minutes.<br /> <br /> Remove shrimp and beef from liquid and arrange on plate.<br /> <br /> Strain beef liquid and place on heat to reduce to a desired sauce consistency.<br /> <br /> Serve with drizzles of sauce and garnish.<br /> <br /> Grilled Vegetable Salad<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 2 eggplant, sliced/cut (soaked in salt water)<br /> <br /> 2 yellow squash, sliced/cut<br /> <br /> 2 zuchinni, sliced/cut<br /> <br /> 4 red onions, sliced/cut<br /> <br /> 4 sweet bell peppers, sliced/cut<br /> <br /> 2 pumpkin, sliced/cut<br /> <br /> 4 beetroot, cooked, sliced/cut<br /> <br /> 4 ripe plantains, sliced/cut<br /> <br /> 2.3 oz couscous, cooked in herbed broth<br /> <br /> 2 steak tomatoes, sliced/cut<br /> <br /> 2 ozs balsamic vinegar<br /> <br /> Balsamic reduction<br /> <br /> Olive oil<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp basil pesto<br /> <br /> Salt<br /> <br /> Black pepper<br /> <br /> 1 pc garlic<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Marinate all vegetables with vinegar, garlic and pesto.<br /> <br /> Add salt and pepper to taste.<br /> <br /> Allow to sit for at least 10-15 minutes. (The longer the greater the flavour.)<br /> <br /> Cook all vegetables on grill until al dente.<br /> <br /> Arrange on plate.<br /> <br /> Drizzle with reduction.<br /> <br /> Serve with chilled couscous.<br /> <br /> Kincytini<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1 oz apple vodka<br /> <br /> 1 oz white rum<br /> <br /> 1/2 oz Blue Curacao<br /> <br /> 1 oz pineapple juice<br /> <br /> 1 oz soda water<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Shake all ingredients over ice.<br /> <br /> Serve in a chilled martini glass.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13696006/262919_89260_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 09, 2017 3:00 AM Wines from Croatia http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Wines-from-Croatia_91576 The Stari Grad Plain, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island of Hvar, Croatia, is an agricultural landscape that was set up by the ancient Greek colonists dating back to the 4th century, and is still operating today. This makes Croatia one of the oldest wine-producing nations in the world, albeit ranking 30th in terms of volume. Croatia has two main wine regions: Continental (Kontinetalna) and Coastal (Primorska) which are made up of over 300 geographically defined wine-producing areas, and a strict classification system to ensure quality and origin. Most (67%) Croatian wine is white, 32% is red, then there is a tiny amount of ros&eacute; produced. Like many old world wine countries, Croatia has many indigenous grape varietals as well as a recent influx of French varietals. <br /> <br /> Miljenko &lsquo;Mike&rsquo; Grgich<br /> <br /> Perhaps the biggest name associated with Croatian wines is the legend Mike Grgich &mdash; born Miljenko Grgic in Croatia in 1923. Grgich shot to fame when he was a winner at the Judgment of Paris 40 years ago with his 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. He returned to Croatia in 1990 and opened Grgich Vina Winery there in 1996, growing and making native Croatian varieties. Grgich was also involved in zinfandel DNA testing that showed it is genetically identical to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kastelanski. This proved his long-held belief that zinfandel&rsquo;s origins are Croatian.<br /> <br /> Crowines<br /> <br /> After former UN Executive Jamaican/Croatian Henry Thompson and his Croatian wife Ksenija settled back in Jamaica after retiring from their hectic globetrotting assignments, they wanted to create a business that would connect the two countries they love, and Crowines &mdash; Croatian Wines and Products Limited &mdash; was formed last year. Why should we be interested in Croatian wines? Great value for money,that&rsquo;s why! <br /> <br /> What we tasted<br /> <br /> Crowines offers a range of wines from two main producers at this time &mdash; Ilocki Podrumi, one of the oldest producers, and Belje Winery (pronounced bel-yeah), the largest producer. While each winery produces wines from all the major international grapes, it is the indigenous varietals, or the homegrown versions of the noble grapes that I am always interested in tasting. Crowines has 22 wines on their price list, so I still have more tasting to do. <br /> <br /> Gra&scaron;evina is the most popular white wine varietal grown and produced in the region. This wine is what some of us refer to as a chameleon grape; it can produce great wines that are dry, off-dry and sweet. When the Ilocki Podrumi Gra&scaron;evina hit my taste buds, all I could think about was Muscadet meets Chablis meets dry Riesling &mdash; gentle citrus, bone dry, fresh. Frankovka &mdash; a grape varietal also known as Blaufr&auml;nkisch, is a spicy, lively, fruity, soft, drinkable dry red wine. We sampled one from Vina Belja made with grapes from their Baranja Vineyards. My favourite was the Vina Belje Pinot Crni Premium (Pinot Noir). It was a bit fleshier and fruitier than your typical old world wine, with a slightly intense mouthfeel and some noticeable tannins. I found the Croatian wines to be pleasant, fresh and enjoyable, and I will need to try some more shortly. Crowines has begun some work on the ground here in Jamaica, and those who have tried them have been enjoying them a great deal. <br /> <br /> A day without wine is like a day without sunshine. - Anon<br /> <br /> Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13696030/262433_89243_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 09, 2017 3:00 AM Succulent Seafood Eats http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Succulent-Seafood-Eats_91125 The return of the Rainforest Seafood Festival was clearly a welcomed addition to this year&rsquo;s foodie calendar as hundreds of patrons turned out ahead of the 11:00 am start yesterday at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre.<br /> <br /> Patrons were treated to tasty offerings from several food purveyors serving up lobster, conch, fish done in several ways, shrimp and several seafood mixes. Jerk fish from Little Ochie was a standout.<br /> <br /> It was clearly a day for family fun and food and several family members could be seen bonding over meals under the huge tents.<br /> <br /> The Rainforest Seafood Festival is staged in order to raise much-needed funds for the Cornwall Regional Hospital. All proceeds from the event go to the We Care Foundation dedicated solely to raising funds for the hospital. <br /> <br /> Thursday Food shares highlights. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13680767/261716_88085_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 02, 2017 12:00 AM 876 Legends http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/876-Legends_90895 The ongoing development of Fairview has brought with it new life to the city of Montego Bay. This chic business and shopping space has a seamless blend of financial institutions, entertainment spots, retail and boutique stores and eateries.<br /> <br /> One element of that blend is 876 Legends, a lounge positioned for lovers of sports, good food and entertainment. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We wanted to carve out an ultimate chill spot especially for young professionals, somewhere to relax and unwind after work and still be that place that has offerings for great entertainment on the weekend. Whether it&rsquo;s to catch your favourite sports team or to have a party experience and of course to have some good food and fun thrown in the mix,&rdquo; explained St Aubyn Clarke, general manager, 876 Legends.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are big on sports, food and entertainment. we have a daily Jamaican-themed lunch buffet which offers stout pork, spicy barbecue chicken, curry goat, fish (steamed, fried, escoveitch) and other specials for the day. We also serve breakfast all day, which is a big hit for us, and hot and cold coffee drinks.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;On the entertainment side we have Jamaica Night on Fridays, Carnival or Mute (Silent Party) on Saturdays and Retro on Sundays and of course, sports right throughout,&rdquo; Clarke explained further.<br /> <br /> A pleasant surprise for Thursday Food was the discovery of chef de cuisine Kerie-Ann Smith who we first met during a judging competition at MoBay Jerk Fest, where she bowled us over with her sauces. Once again, those sauces have us asking for the secret! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13680601/261187_87910_repro_w300.jpg Local Lifestyle Thursday, March 02, 2017 12:00 AM Chefs to watch for 2017 - The Tryall Club http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Chefs-to-watch-for-2017_90565 Thursday Food highlights five more chefs who are charged with introducing visitors and locals alike to the best culinary offerings in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> This week&rsquo;s featured chefs are from The Tryall Club, Hanover. <br /> <br /> SALVATORE CUSIMANO <br /> <br /> Executive Chef, The Tryall Club <br /> <br /> Born in Palermo, Sicily, Chef Salvo has brought over 20 years of culinary experiences to The Tryall Club team. <br /> <br /> The consummate globetrotter, Chef Salvo has honed his culinary skills in some of the world&rsquo;s finest five-star hotels, in Italy, France, Ireland, Egypt and Jamaica. <br /> <br /> In Executive Chef&rsquo;s Salvatorre&rsquo;s own words: &ldquo;My passion and love for the kitchen and good food was born with me in Sicily, Palermo, Italy, where I come from.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Being the son of a butcher from three generations, his passion for good food (soul food, as he affectionately calls it) has been with him since he was conceived. <br /> <br /> He added, &ldquo;When I was young I always saw my grandma and my mother cooking for the entire family. In Sicily, it is a ritual to have long hours of lunch or dinner; good food and enjoying all foods provided is a priority. Growing up, I realised that food is art; it is a sensation. Now, with experiences all over the world, I was able to get first-hand knowledge of the different flavours, cultures and ingredients which I lovingly showcase every day. The discovery of various recipes, old and new, the daily fusion and revision of them I do with such passion and integrity. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I really love when my guests and family enjoy my creations. I sincerely love what I do and I do it with all my heart. Cooking and delivering savoury and, might I add delectable, dishes and seeing the look of satisfaction on people&rsquo;s faces when they taste my creations make me proud and resonate in me that this is what I am born to do. &ldquo;Food is art; food is life!&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Hopeton Haye<br /> <br /> Executive Pastry Chef, The Tryall Club<br /> <br /> Having been formally trained at the College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST), now known as uTech, where he earned certification in Pastry and Bakery, Hopeton Haye has been working in the hospitality industry and doing what he loves since 1991. In his own words: &ldquo;Being a pastry chef is truly my calling.&rdquo; But it took him a while before he yielded to his true self as he worked at various places within the commercial sector before settling into the creative food and beverage area. Each of his pastry masterpieces is done from the heart and boasts pure talent and honed skills. Hopeton joined The Tryall Club&rsquo;s family two years ago and hasn&rsquo;t looked back since. His favourite creations are wedding cakes and plated desserts as these pieces reveal more about his creative side and the pure joy of seeing satisfied looks on his clients&rsquo; faces. He has had several accolades and medals bestowed upon him throughout the island such as winner of the Jamaica Yam festival, where he created masterpiece pastries using a staple common to many Jamaica homes: yam. His biggest inspiration is, and will always be, his mother. He lives daily by his own mantra: &ldquo;Only my best is good enough.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> AINSLEY CLARKE<br /> <br /> Chef, Pineapple House at The Tryall Club<br /> <br /> Chef Ainsley Clarke is the executive chef at The Pineapple House Villa, where he prepares tantalising dishes to suit all guests&rsquo; needs and requests. Ainsley started cooking with his mother at a tender age; she was a housekeeper/cook when she imparted all she knew about the kitchen to him. That seed was germinated when he joined the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Rose Hall, Montego Bay as a steward in 2008, and discovered he had an intense passion for the culinary profession. Working alongside the chefs, his curiosity increased as he started asking questions and was always willing to assist whether or not he was asked. He was encouraged by the sous-chef at that time to participate in the cross-training programme within the culinary department. He was transferred shortly after and gained full-time employment in food and beverage. <br /> <br /> Chef Ainsley started climbing up the culinary ladder and so decided to further his studies. <br /> <br /> He is a HEART Trust Institute graduate, and is a commercial chef as well as a certified level 4 souschef. In 2016, Chef Ainsley attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, where he studies Italian Cuisine. He loves to cook Jamaican dishes, but is versatile with other cuisines such as Italian, French, Mediterranean, Chinese, Mexican and Indian. When it comes to satisfying his own palate, his favourite meal is steak and mashed potatoes drizzled with a bacon bourbon sauce.<br /> <br /> RICHARD REID<br /> <br /> Sous-Chef, The Tryall Club<br /> <br /> Like many other children in rural Jamaica, Richard Reid would play with his peers in the neighbourhood for long hours, especially during the summer holidays. Having a distinct passion for food from an early age, he was always the designated cook within the group. Richard&rsquo;s journey to becoming a sous-chef began in a rather unique manner. He started out in an industrial kitchen as a steward where incidentally a cook had quit his job. So he had no objections when that newly vacant position was extended to him. This marked the beginning of his love affair with delectable cuisines. He completed a Chef Apprentice Programme at Johnson&rsquo;s County Community College in the United States of America. He later pursued a supervisory and management course at the Montego Bay Community College. Chef Reid has won the coveted Iron Chef Award, as well as other local culinary competitions. When questioned about what drives him to do what he does on a daily basis, he responded confidently, &ldquo;My family; everything I do, I do with dignity and humility; all because of the values that I instil in my children and the constant encouragement I get from them.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> LANCEL GORDON<br /> <br /> Chef, Villa Someday Soon at The Tryall Club<br /> <br /> Lancel Gordon is a chef at the prestigious Someday Soon Villa, located at the Tryall Club Sandy Bay, Hanover, in Jamaica. He is an organised culinary master who is passionate about planning, preparing and presenting his dishes in a manner that brings satisfaction to all his guests and, of course, himself. He loves food and enjoys satisfying everyone&rsquo;s needs. People&rsquo;s appreciation is what motivates Chef Lancel to continue doing his best and sharpening his culinary skills. He has completed both a Team Jamaica Programme (TPDco) and a Villa Chef course with one the finest culinary trainers, Chef Peter Gooden from NQCTS in St James. Lancel has also completed a Commercial Food Preparation Certificate (CUMMI Chef) at the HEART Trust Institute in Kennilworth. Chef Lancel is by no means finished with furthering his culinary skills, as he believes that food is an art and art is ever-evolving. He takes inspiration from his grandmother. &ldquo;When I was 11 years old, I started assisting my grandmother, who I affectionately call Grandma Clarice and who is now 84 years young, in the kitchen. It was an honour for me to contribute to Sunday&rsquo;s culinary experience by cooking the peas and making the salad under her careful supervision. My motivation comes from Chef Gordon Ramsay from the popular TV series, Kitchen Nightmares and most of all, my wife and kids. My favourite dish to prepare is the balsamic roast chicken because the flavours that are used in this dish are always on point. They never cease to tantalise my clients&rsquo; taste buds.&rdquo;<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13680565/260613_87969_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 02, 2017 12:00 AM Recipe Corner: Stuffed Whole Red Snapper http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Recipe-Corner--Stuffed-Whole-Red-Snapper_90947 Courtesy of Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel Executive Chef Kenard Swaby<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 3-4 lbs whole red snapper, scaled and gutted <br /> <br /> 1 lime, quartered <br /> <br /> Fish seasoning of choice for rubbing the fish <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Stuffing: <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> 2 cups breadcrumbs <br /> <br /> 4 cups shrimp <br /> <br /> 3 cups cho-cho <br /> <br /> 1/2 cup (1stick) butter, melted <br /> <br /> 4 tbsp chopped chives <br /> <br /> 4 tbsp chopped parsley leaves <br /> <br /> 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper <br /> <br /> 1 small onion, chopped <br /> <br /> 5 cloves garlic, minced <br /> <br /> 1 small lime, zested and juiced <br /> <br /> 1 tsp salt <br /> <br /> 1 tsp white pepper <br /> <br /> 1 tsp dried thyme <br /> <br /> 1 tsp dried sage <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Wash the fish and rub inside and out with the quartered lime and season.<br /> <br /> Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. <br /> <br /> Preheat the oven to 300 oF or prepare the barbecue grill. <br /> <br /> Combine the ingredients for the stuffing and fill the cavity of the snapper. Bake or grill the fish until the flesh is opaque, allowing about 10 minutes per pound.<br /> <br /> Do not overcook!<br /> <br /> Serve with grilled slices of lemon and char-grilled vegetables. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13680626/261270_87926_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 02, 2017 12:00 AM We Talk Dry, But Drink Sweet! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/We-Talk-Dry--But-Drink-Sweet-_90891 This past week, I found myself explaining the difference between dry, off-dry and sweet wines over and over again. Most wine consumers are challenged when it comes to describing the type of wine that they like. The time I spent on the floor a few years ago serving wine highlighted the dilemma repeatedly, especially when it came to sweet vs dry wines.<br /> <br /> Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting an impromptu wine-tasting affair for a small group consisting of individuals who drank wine as their primary beverage of choice, and those who did not. Most indicated a preference for dry wines but were unable to directly pinpoint the reason why. Sweetness is related to the amount of residual sugar (RS) that exists in the finished wine. Remember that during the wine-making process fermentation converts sugar in grape juice into alcohol. The winemaker decides how sweet or dry he or she wants to make the wine, and 100% of the sugar is hardly ever converted. What can further confuse the issue is that alcohol also gives an impression of sweetness.<br /> <br /> After approximately six to seven wines were tasted, it was clear that the group was happiest when those wines with higher residual sugar were poured. Most people can&rsquo;t taste &ldquo;sweetness&rdquo; until they reach 5 or 6 grams of sugar per litre, which roughly equates to adding a teaspoon of sugar (or condensed milk) to a cup of coffee. Not many of us will readily admit how much we really like the added sweetness. The amount of RS is not listed on bottles, although some groups have lobbied for it, so it&rsquo;s up to us in the profession to go searching for these numbers and translate for those we provide services for. <br /> <br /> Fruit Sweet or Sugar sweet<br /> <br /> I have found that many wine drinkers sometimes confuse fruit flavours in wine with the presence of sugar, so they will describe a wine as being sweet when there is no perceivable RS in that wine at all. What I do is to actually let tasters sip a truly sweet wine so they can experience the presence of sugar. I am trying to use different descriptions with new wine drinkers: describing a wine as fruit sweet vs sugar sweet seems to have had some success. <br /> <br /> Wines can be extra-dry, dry, off-dry, medium-dry, medium- sweet or very sweet. Most wines available in Jamaica are dry &mdash; meaning they are lacking any sweetness at all. While red wines can sometimes be sweet, more than 90% of them are dry. A popular dry red wine like Meiomi Pinot Noir measures about 6 grams of sugar per litre. Some will argue that this wine&rsquo;s RS has contributed to its huge success globally. Sweet is not a bad thing; it also goes best with spicy, peppery Jamaican foods.<br /> <br /> In the end, simply drink what pleases YOU!<br /> <br /> Christopher Reckord &mdash; Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13680618/261167_87907_repro_w300.jpg Local Lifestyle Thursday, March 02, 2017 12:00 AM RODERIC CRAWFORD General Manager - Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/RODERIC-CRAWFORD-General-Manager---Terra-Nova-All-Suite-Hotel_90784 My current role is...<br /> <br /> mentor and cheerleader, to challenge our team to satisfy the ever-changing preferences of our customers, and to keep the team focused on achieving established targets. <br /> <br /> Prior to joining the team a the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel I worked at...<br /> <br /> &hellip;Radisson Grenada, Trident Hotel, Almond Resorts in Barbados & St Lucia, Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall and Plantation Inn.<br /> <br /> I am bringing not only my years of expertise to the table but also...<br /> <br /> my passion for excellence, my penchant for customer service, my ability to forge a cohesive team that understands together we can achieve anything.<br /> <br /> I accepted the challenge because...<br /> <br /> I believe Kingston is the place to be and I&rsquo;ve always desired, since my early days in the industry, to return to a more intimate hotel where I could be more in tune with the pulse of the customer.<br /> <br /> What I like about the hotel is ... <br /> <br /> the accommodating and friendly staff and uncompromising level of quality in all that we do.<br /> <br /> My immediate plans are&hellip;<br /> <br /> to grow the business, maintain the high standards and introduce service refinements through continuous improvement. To ensure that Terra Nova retains its dominant position in the market.<br /> <br /> What are three things that contribute to the success of a hotel?<br /> <br /> Offering consistent and personalised service through a highly motivated and trained team of ladies and gentlemen. Never forgetting that the guest writes the pay cheque. Being responsive to evolving customer preferences.<br /> <br /> What is it about the food at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel that keeps patrons coming back?<br /> <br /> Extensiveness and relevance of menu offerings, consistency in quality and a highly talented chef in Kenard Swaby.<br /> <br /> What are the favourites?<br /> <br /> Mine is the grilled salmon with a white wine, lemon caper and basil reduction. Our filet mignon, rack of lamb and lobster thermidor are all very popular with our guests. The Regency Bar & Lounge also serves light fare after our restaurants have closed for the evening. <br /> <br /> Which wines are your best sellers, and why?<br /> <br /> Our wine list features over 130 wines, and the local market has shown a growing thirst and sophistication for really good wine. Among the many popular movers are: <br /> <br /> Pinot Grigio with its light and crisp taste, which makes it a perfect accompaniment with seafood.<br /> <br /> Sauvignon Blanc with its hints of citrus, which makes it pair well with seafood and pasta. It is also regularly served in the Regency Bar & Lounge with orders of light fare.<br /> <br /> Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are are ideally suited to diners opting for entr&Atilde;&copy;es from the land.<br /> <br /> Conundrum (red), which has really taken off as the most popular blend of varietals and goes well with beef and seemingly just about anything. <br /> <br /> Why has your Thursday High Tea remained such an in-demand event?<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s High Tea but in a relaxed setting. Our first-timers are blown away by the abundance of savoury and sweet offerings: baked goods, pastries, petit fours, finger sandwiches and, of course, a flute of sparkling wine&hellip;not to mention the fine teas and attentive service. It&rsquo;s where you&rsquo;ll find lively groupings of friends who want to catch up while being seamlessly pampered.<br /> <br /> What&rsquo;s your favourite place to chill at the hotel?<br /> <br /> The Terrace with its uniquely Jamaican feel and calming views overlooking the gardens. It&rsquo;s a good way to start the day with an early-morning cup of tea and reflect on the previous day and the day ahead. <br /> <br /> What would you be eating? <br /> <br /> Fresh local fruit, for sure, and, if my taste buds beckon, I&rsquo;ll tuck into the breakfast buffet and surround my boneless escoveitched snapper with every imaginable traditional Jamaican treat such as ackee and salt fish, mackerel rundown, fried plantain and roasted sweet potato.<br /> <br /> Who in corporate Jamaica would you like to see more of at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel? <br /> <br /> Now that&rsquo;s a really tough question! Terra Nova has earned the reputation of being the meeting place for business leaders, whether in a formal conference room or in a more personal dining setting. I&rsquo;d say more business deals that shape the direction of the Jamaican economic landscape go down at Terra Nova than at any other hotel in Jamaica. To answer your question, I&rsquo;d say we would want to encourage those businesspersons who have not yet broken out of the stay-at-the-office mould to give us a call, to see how best we can help them plan a productive meeting away from all the usual distractions. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13680593/261258_87934_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, March 02, 2017 12:00 AM Groovin At Smookeez By The Sea http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Groovin-At-Smookeez-By-The-Sea_90226 Smookeez by the Sea has the distinction of being that chill spot on the coast with a rustic setting that lies closest to the centre, Montego Bay.<br /> <br /> It is located in Ironshore, with world-renowned 18-hole golf courses and luxury hotels a few chains away. This laid-back, no pretence, OMG!-where-did-the-time-go spot is quietly getting notice from locals and tourists alike.<br /> <br /> Trip Advisor reviews attest to its good food and service even while hailing its rustic charm.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our local fishermen from the fishing beach beside us, as well as from Lucea in Hanover, provide us with a daily net of fresh fish. This is perfect as our aim is to ensure our customers have the freshest and the best ingredients going into their meals. Catch of the day and excellent, quality service in a relaxed setting,&rdquo; explained Lowell Spence, managing partner, Smookeez by the Sea.<br /> <br /> Another draw for the location is Sunday Groovin, during which local entrepreneurs are often guest DJs and battle each other on the &lsquo;turntables&rsquo;. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Sunday Groovin is all about the music and food with just awesome cool vibes. We have had Robert Russell and Johnny Gourzong from Sumfest as guest DJs. Montego Bay&rsquo;s very own DJ Stretch is also here weekly,&rdquo; Spence explained further. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13663291/259932_86597_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:00 AM Chefs To Watch For 2017 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Chefs-To-Watch-For-2017_90201 Thursday Food highlights five more chefs who are charged with introducing visitors and locals alike to the best culinary offerings in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> This week&rsquo;s featured chefs are from Round Hill Hotel & Villas.<br /> <br /> CHEF MARTIN MAGINLEY<br /> <br /> Executive Chef, Round Hill Hotel & Villas<br /> <br /> Chef Martin Ian Maginley is a talented and personable chef with a wealth of experience and a passion for gastronomy. He arrived at Round Hill Hotel & Villas Jamaica, in 2007, where he currently resides. This is following his position as executive chef at SuperClubs&rsquo; Grand Lido Negril Resort & Spa, where he enriched the culinary experience throughout the property&rsquo;s seven dining outlets. Prior to his executive chef position, he served as executive sous-chef at Grand Lido Resort and sous-chef at The Four Seasons Regent Hotel in Toronto, Canada. Maginley graduated from George Brown College in Toronto, where he also completed his apprenticeship in culinary arts. <br /> <br /> He has appeared on national television, including live demonstrations, on the Today Show, Fox 5 Morning Show, NBC Chicago, Montreal Global TV and has been featured in national publications such as Food & Wine and Caribbean Travel & Life. Chef Maginley has also worked with world renowned Chef Gary Rhodes on his television series Rhodes Across The Caribbean. He also helped to create the highly successful &ldquo;Epicurean Escape&rdquo; in association with Food & Wine. In 2015 he was awarded Chef of the Year by the Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards. <br /> <br /> During his time at Round Hill, Chef Martin has been instrumental in developing the hotel&rsquo;s culinary programme by unveiling a new farm-to-table menu and a See, Touch and Taste programme.<br /> <br /> TANISHA WEBSTER<br /> <br /> Range Chef, Round Hill Hotel & Villas<br /> <br /> At age 23, Chef Tanisha is one of the youngest members of the Round Hill culinary team. A graduate of HEART Granville, she realised she wanted to make this a career at age 21, as it was feeding a passion within. She has interned at other hotels, but landed her first full-time job at Round Hill four years ago and is considered a vital member who is eager to learn, training under the tutelage of Chef Marvin to produce meals for the fine dining restaurant. <br /> <br /> Chef Tanisha&rsquo;s goal is to own her own restaurant in the future and teach others in culinary arts, as she deeply appreciates those who have taught her along the way.<br /> <br /> VANESSA ANGLIN<br /> <br /> Range Chef, Round Hill Hotel & Villas<br /> <br /> The 24-year-old hails from Bickersteth, St James, and credits the 4-H Club at her primary and high schools for developing her love of food and all things culinary, as they got her involved in food competitions and provided cooking training for their young charges. This love led to Vanessa studying Food Service Management at UTech and seeking out various internships both here and abroad. It was five years ago that she impressed Chef Martin, so much that he kept calling her back to participate in various events in which Round Hill participated. She was then taken on board full-time two years later. She enjoys her work at Round Hill, noting that she not only has the opportunity to work with the best ingredients, but is also provided the leeway to be creative and grow as a chef. <br /> <br /> Chef Vanessa counts as her inspiration Dominique Crenn, the first 2-Michelin star female chef in the USA. Her goal is to be an executive chef and a culinary consultant, as it will continue to feed the passion she has for food. <br /> <br /> Vanessa Anglin is a 2013 Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards scholarship recipient.<br /> <br /> Marvin Robinson<br /> <br /> Restaurant Chef, Round Hill Hotel & Villas<br /> <br /> Chef Marvin was born in Hanover, but spent his formative years in St James, including completing his culinary studies at the highest possible level offered at HEART Academy. Now at 29 years, he has already achieved the title of Chef of the Year 2011, and was the chef who won the competition to represent Jamaica against 54 other countries at the 2009 World Skills Chef Competition in Canada. <br /> <br /> Chef Marvin joined Round Hill in 2007 as a range cook and has worked his way up to the present position where his responsibilities include creating menus and overseeing the culinary vision of the restaurants. That tenacity and skill comes not just from his mentor, Chef Martin Maginley, but is also inspired by his mom, who although has passed, left an indelible impression on him. His goal is to open his own restaurant that provides high-end Caribbean and refined Jamaican cuisine &ndash; an area that he thinks is lacking here in Jamaica. He enjoys working at Round Hill as he says it embodies his food philosophy of using the freshest and best ingredients to create dishes that are appealing to the eyes and the palate.<br /> <br /> Odain Palmer<br /> <br /> Pastry Chef, Round Hill Hotel & Villas<br /> <br /> Born in Lucea, Chef Odain started at Round Hill as a trainee from HEART Kenilworth. Executive Chef Maginley saw his potential, mentored him and set him on the path to his love of pastry creations. The 28-year-old&rsquo;s goal is to lead his own pastry team as head pastry chef. <br /> <br /> Chef Odain says his consistency and steadfastness as well as his ability to think outside the box are qualities that make him good at creating pastries. He also thinks that these are the reasons why he gravitated towards desserts, a recipe-driven area of the culinary world, which still allow for creativity in how they are presented and how substitutions can be done. <br /> <br /> He counts Pastry Chef Lincoln Peterkin as his inspiration, in that he is a fellow Jamaican who has achieved some of the highest accolades in his field and also been awarded various medals by representing Jamaica in pastry competitions. Chef Odain aims to get to that level in his career.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13663239/259806_86565_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:00 AM Eating Out Next Door http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Eating-Out-Next-Door_90336 After arriving in Havana late night, I eagerly welcomed the morning rays as they brought to life visuals of this marvellous city that has clearly withstood the hands of time. As I left my hotel on foot, the architecture of this jewel blew me away with its mix of intricacies: cobbled streets, grandiose buildings and magnificent squares. The scenery got better with every step I made. What was being unveiled was an eclectic mix of grand opulence, a collection of heirlooms &ndash; some ruined, some tattered, some dilapidated &ndash; but on close contact, it was obvious that these colonial treasures were just in need of a facelift.<br /> <br /> At times it felt like you were playing masquerade, discovering a jewel hidden in the rubble, a low-hanging, once forbidden fruit tempting you, pulling you in. It was clear this country was now poised and preparing to untangle itself from not just a time warp but a serious economic embargo; everywhere you turned was a snapshot of lives unfolding!<br /> <br /> Hunger pangs led me in search of local cuisine which I soon discovered went beyond rice, pork and beans. &ldquo;Street eats&rdquo; range from such classics as hand-made pizza, fresh fried churros to empanadas and plantain chips while dining ranges from the casual, simple backyard caf&eacute; in homes to high-end restaurants like that of the world-famous La Guarida, which has seen the likes of mega stars such as Beyonc&eacute; and Madonna. Here you absolutely must make a reservation to get in. The rustic look of this restaurant&rsquo;s exterior appeared time-worn but the intricate, antique details echoed a magnificence that engulfed you on your way up the regal spiral staircase to enter this iconic family-run restaurant. The restaurant serves contemporary Cuban-fusion cuisine. I tried the duck salad and the oxtail for my main, which was muy delicioso! I must admit that I was never once disapointed at any of the eateries in Cuba.<br /> <br /> Another must-do, highly recommended whether or not you are an art lover, is to collect some local art; you may find artists doing their work on the streets and in the markets; however, negotiate the prices down as much as you can. In fact, you may need to do so with just about all purchases planned Cigars are also popular everywhere; however, don&rsquo;t buy more than two boxes to avoid heavy penalties. Hit the bars and enjoy the many cocktails Cuba offers. After all, Cuba played an important role in the history of classic cocktails such as the daiquiri and mojito. Make every effort to visit La Bodeguita del Medio on the streets of Old Havana, as this is the birthplace of the Mojito!<br /> <br /> So when you plan your next vacation or just a weekend getaway, explore Havana, Cuba as an option. Don&rsquo;t think it is just a classic cars and pork-in everything destination. I guarantee that you will leave with a different view than all the preconceived ones you might have had. It&rsquo;s a gem waiting to be explored! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13663312/260146_86644_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:00 AM Hungry, anyone?  http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Hungry--anyone_90265 Just when you thought you were settling into a routine for meals, The Best Dressed Chicken has debuted two delicious options: Wings and Tenders. Both come breaded and ready for quick preparation, either in the oven or on the stovetop.<br /> <br /> In many ways Breaded Wings and Tenders are kid-approved, allowing little tykes to explore their culinary chops by creating an arsenal of sauces. Start with your favourite &ldquo;store bought&rdquo; barbecue sauce and add the condiments and flavourings that best suit your fancy, be it honey and mango preserves for a sweet take, or mustard and Worcestershire sauce for a bit more zing. Sauces aside, Breaded Wings and Tenders can also be parlayed into even heartier meal options for a quick change in your weekly meal round-up.<br /> <br /> The Best Dressed Breaded Chicken Wings<br /> <br /> with Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce<br /> <br /> Ingredients: <br /> <br /> &frac12; cup rice wine vinegar <br /> <br /> &frac12; cup white sugar <br /> <br /> 2 tsp salt <br /> <br /> 1 tbsp chilli garlic sauce <br /> <br /> Method: <br /> <br /> Stir the vinegar and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely, 7 to 10 minutes; add the salt, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. <br /> <br /> Remove from heat and stir the chilli garlic sauce into the mixture. <br /> <br /> Allow to cool slightly before serving. <br /> <br /> Toss with The Best Dressed Chicken Breaded Wings or serve on the side.<br /> <br /> Honey Mango BBQ Best Dressed Breaded Chicken Wings<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1 pack Best Dressed Chicken Breaded Wings<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp extra-light olive oil<br /> <br /> 2 cloves garlic, minced<br /> <br /> &frac12; cup honey<br /> <br /> 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce<br /> <br /> &frac14;cup balsamic vinegar<br /> <br /> 2 tsp Dijon mustard<br /> <br /> &frac14; cup mango juice<br /> <br /> 1 tsp cayenne pepper<br /> <br /> 2 tsp chilli powder<br /> <br /> Salt to taste<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Stir all of the ingredients together until well combined.<br /> <br /> Prepare The Best Dressed Chicken Wings as per package instructions.<br /> <br /> Toss wings in the sauce or serve on the side.<br /> <br /> The Best Dressed Chicken Breaded Wings<br /> <br /> with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1 pack Best Dressed Chicken Breaded Wings<br /> <br /> 6 tablespoons light sour cream<br /> <br /> 4 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise<br /> <br /> Juice from 1 lime<br /> <br /> 4-5 tablespoons fresh cilantro<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Put all ingredients except chicken into a food processor or blender and mix until totally combined.<br /> <br /> Prepare The Best Dressed Chicken Breaded Wings as per instructions and serve sauce on the side.<br /> <br /> The Best Dressed Chicken Breaded Tenders and Waffles<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1 pack Best Dressed Chicken Breaded Tenders<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp cup unsalted butter<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp all-purpose flour<br /> <br /> 1 cup cold chicken stock<br /> <br /> &frac14; cup heavy cream<br /> <br /> Salt and ground white pepper to taste<br /> <br /> 1 pinch cayenne pepper<br /> <br /> 4 frozen waffles<br /> <br /> Maple syrup, for serving<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Prepare The Best Dressed Chicken Breaded Tenders as per package instructions.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.<br /> <br /> Whisk in flour for 10 to 12 minutes.<br /> <br /> Gradually whisk in cold stock.<br /> <br /> Reduce heat to low.<br /> <br /> Bring gravy to a simmer, and cook and stir until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.<br /> <br /> Stir in heavy cream, and season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne pepper.<br /> <br /> Toast the waffles and then place a waffle on each plate and drizzle with maple syrup.<br /> <br /> Top with chicken and gravy and then place another waffle to make a sandwich.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13663305/260021_86623_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:00 AM Opa Greek Restaurant & Lounge to relocate to Devon House http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Opa-Greek-Restaurant---Lounge-to-relocate-to-Devon-House_90208 There were no free tables at Opa Greek Restaurant on Valentine&rsquo;s Night at Opa. Truth be told, there has never been a free table in the three years of its hosting the year&rsquo;s most romantic night. Restaurateur and award-winning composer/recording artiste/producer Alexx Antaeus used the opportunity to thank guests for their patronage and to announce that this would be their last evening at the 75 Hope Road location. OPA was moving to Devon House. The reopening date: Friday, March 10, 2017<br /> <br /> Thursday Food shares more&hellip;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our decision to relocate Opa,&rdquo; explained Antaeus, &ldquo;was based on three main factors:<br /> <br /> 1 Outrageously high rent increase at our present location. <br /> <br /> 2 Research showing that Kingstonians seem to prefer dining out where a &ldquo;cluster of restaurants&rdquo; exists. <br /> <br /> 3 Most importantly, sharing the vision of Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett and the newly created Gastronomy Group that Devon House can, and will, become a culinary centre of the Caribbean. We want to be part of this exciting future.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The more with the relocation is that OPA will be rebranded as a Mediterranean restaurant and as such will introduce more culinary options alongside the Greek. &ldquo;Seventy-five per cent of our menu will remain as is because it has been loved and appreciated by locals and visitors alike. But we will add other Mediterranean delicacies, such as paellas and crostinis,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> Ever the enthusiast, Antaeus has huge plans for a bar, &ldquo;We are particularly excited about the addition of our Reggae Mill Bar&hellip; Devon House must have more Jamaican attractions. As the name implies, we will be playing reggae music only. EDM, dancehall and other genres of music will not be heard through our sound boxes. On occasions we will also utilise the space for live performances of reggae artists, especially up-and-coming ones. The Reggae Mill Bar will offer Yardie Finga Foods, such as patties, fla-fla and jerk chicken wings,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The affable restaurateur also plans in Phase 11 to open a Jamaican restaurant inside the Stiebel Room and is eyeing this space as a possible recording studio. &ldquo;Just picture patrons dining or drinking at the Devonshire courtyard while a recording session is going on behind the glass&hellip; oh, those flickering mixing-board lights and VU sound meters!&rdquo; It&rsquo;s not hard to!<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The new logos were designed by Antaeus&rsquo;s cousin Thanos Zakopoulos, the co-founder of one of Europe&rsquo;s most successful art and design studios who recently visited Jamaica from his base in Milan, Italy and who&rsquo;s also assisting with the interior design.<br /> <br /> The new logo for OPA incorporates vibrant colours and modern fonts. We have introduced a warm yellow and an oval shape reminding us of an olive (which represents in an abstract way the Mediterranean). Furthermore, yellow is a colour that is peculiar both to the Mediterranean and Jamaica. It&rsquo;s the colour of sunshine and happiness. We will retain our &ldquo;opa blue,&rdquo; which represents the sea, and we are reintroducing a teal/green, which, along with the yellow makes reference to the Jamaican flag, &ldquo; Antaeus note.<br /> <br /> Thursday Food suggests that you &mdash; SAVE THE DATE Friday, March 10<br /> <br /> . It&rsquo;s going to be one helluva opening! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13663284/259828_86575_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:00 AM The Verandah Steakhouse to open at Devon House http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/The-Verandah-Steakhouse-to-open-at-Devon-House_90330 It&rsquo;s been a long time coming, but good things come, they say, to those who wait, and the big news this week is that the Terrace at Devon House is to open by mid-March 2017. The restaurant will be called The Verandah Steakhouse On The Verandah At Devon House and the chef de cuisine will be Chef Dawn Tyson, author of the cookbook Soul and former competitor on Food Network &rsquo;s Rewrapped.<br /> <br /> Chef Dawn Tyson along with Michael Thorpe came under our radar last year when we featured their Brown&rsquo;s Town, St Ann farm-to-table establishment Sunsplash.<br /> <br /> The American steakhouse with a Jamaican twist will seat 60 max and serve locally aged meat from Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards nominees Gregory and Kristen Burrowes, principals of The Meat Experts &ndash; in addition to limited seafood, chicken and vegetarian dishes.<br /> <br /> The historic Silver Vault of Devon House will feature crystal chandeliers, crystal glasses and fine china and access to the Chef&rsquo;s Table with its exclusive Chef Dawn menu. Wine pairings will be by reservations only.<br /> <br /> Christopher Reckord will, we are certain, be delighted to know that, in addition to its specialty drinks, each menu item will be paired with wine and the bar stocked with premium liquor.<br /> <br /> More Foodie News&hellip;<br /> <br /> Gourmet Cuts, the Deli, will have a soft opening in two weeks in Ocho Rios at the Shoppes of Pineapple. On the shelves will be Select Brands wines, Meat Experts meats, seafood, cheese, breads, spices, and copious cups of Blue Mountain Coffee will be poured. <br /> <br /> Gregory and Kristen Burrowes have purchased what was Content in Bog Walk, which they are restoring in phases. &ldquo;It was in a bad condition so we are restoring in phases. This will be the home of Meat Experts.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Thursday Food looks forward to the opening. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13663278/260123_86579_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:00 AM